Former Senator Claire McCaskill Blasted for Warning Democrats to Not Promise Voters ‘Free Stuff’

Former Senator Claire McCaskill Blasted for Warning Democrats to Not Promise Voters ‘Free Stuff’

Former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill is being roasted after insisting on MSNBC after Tuesday night’s debate that Democrats are blowing their chance at winning Midwestern states by promising all sorts of “free stuff.”

This seems like odd advice coming from a moderate who lost her last Senate election while running a very centrist campaign and telling voters she was not one of the “crazy” (by which she meant leftist) Democrats. And indeed, social media had a fine time dragging her over her latest comments:

McCaskill’s “abject moron” opponent in 2012 was Todd Akin, who was running a close campaign against her until he suggested that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” almost never get pregnant, so the right to an abortion should not be an issue they care about.

The second part of McCaskill’s comment actually contains a germ of an interesting and likely correct thought:

“Free stuff from the government does not play well in the Midwest. Because they’re just convinced that they’re never the ones getting the free stuff.

She’s talking about voters with a lot of racial resentment, she just does not have the nerve to say it straight out:

“That was part of the thing that Trump did. He said basically, I’m going to tap into your anger and your angst. We’re going to blame the Mexicans and the Muslims for everything that’s wrong with the world…I think the reality is that if you start saying that we’re going to elect folks coming across the border have no criminal penalty, and we’re going to allow them to get access to free health care through Medicaid programs, then you are going to lose a whole slew of voters that aren’t crazy about Donald Trump but are not going to go there.”

Racism. She is talking about Trump’s coded racism appealing to people in the Midwest, as it appeals to a certain number of people everywhere. And she is telling Democrats to more or less embrace a similar mindset in order to avoid a racial backlash that will lead to Trump’s re-election.

The fact Claire McCaskill is sitting in a TV studio instead of the Senate might be the strongest proof that this is not a strategy worth embracing.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.